When you are preparing your office for a complete renovation & redesign, the burning question is “How do we keep up productivity and maintain operations as usual during the build-out?” Do you have your entire team work from a co-working space for the next two months? Ship out your employees to different locations of your company? Work out of shipping containers in the parking lot? None of these options are particularly attractive – or cost-effective – and you want to keep the inconvenience to a minimum. Here are three strategies that can help you stay productive and minimize disruptions throughout the process.
1. Have the renovation completed in sections
Firstly, it’s imperative that you work with your design-build company to have the build-out completed in sections. They should be doing this anyway if you still need to use the space, but with your input they will be able to redesign sections in the order that creates the least amount of disruption. This way, employees will always have a place to work even when other areas are under construction.
On that note, make sure you decide ahead of time where ‘displaced’ employees will go when their work area is under construction. Brief all employees of the plan and inform each of when they will likely need to relocate and where they should go. Follow up throughout the process to make sure everything is going according to plan.
2. Consider creating a temporary remote work policy
Second, even with this planning in place, you still might have trouble finding a home for every employee whose workspace is under construction. To avoid overcrowding issues, consider creating a temporary remote working policy for the duration of the build-out. This will allow employees to work remotely or telecommute for one or more days a week. To avoid fluctuating in-office attendance, create a schedule detailing who will be in the office on each day of the week.
A remote working policy will reduce overcrowding in the usable areas of the office. Trying to fit all the employees into a smaller space than usual can get uncomfortable and impact productivity. Better to be flexible than to guarantee lowered productivity by trying to cram too many employees into the reduced space.
3. Plan how you will handle meetings
Third, you need to plan your meeting strategy. Nothing will ruin a meeting like the sound of power tools punctuating every other sentence. Start by scheduling as many meetings as possible to occur before and after the renovation. Pare your schedule down to the bare minimum of meetings to reduce the amount of footwork that needs to happen for the remaining ones to take place.
Once you’ve reduced your schedule to include only meetings that are non-negotiable, decide how you are going to conduct them productively. While employees can deaden the sound of construction – or demolition – with noise-cancelling headphones, that won’t be such a great strategy for team meetings.
You’ll need to find an alternative space to hold meetings. One option might be to rent a conference room at an off-site location for a day. You could also try substituting a video call for a physical meeting. This way, individual attendees will be able to find a quieter space or work remotely that day. This is much easier than trying to find a space for the entire team to meet in peace.
A little planning ahead can make your design-build go a lot more smoothly. Anticipating possible disruptions ahead of time and having a plan to work around them will help keep day-to-day operations running normally and unexpected challenges to a minimum. A good design-build company should also make the process easier for you by offering up solutions to any concerns you may have.